The WBBL will be one of the major franchise leagues to be safeguarded with the ICC deciding not to schedule internationals to clash with competitions in the next three-year cycle.
In a major boost for Cricket Australia, big-money franchise leagues were the winners when the ICC released its women’s schedule for 2023 and onwards on Tuesday.
As such, windows have effectively been set up to avoid international cricket during November for the WBBL, as well as around the Hundred in England and Women’s IPL.
In the three-year cycle, only an England-South Africa series briefly overlaps with the end of the 2024-25 WBBL.
It means the leagues will continue to have access to the world’s best players for the most part, avoiding a repeat of the current cash-versus-country issue in the men’s game with only the IPL safeguarded.
Cricket Australia had long hoped for a window around the WBBL, which has been the leading franchise league in women’s cricket since its inception in 2014-15.
Players had also been constant in their desire for it, with the WIPL and Hundred both popping up since.
“There is a really strong sense that we want to give the game the best opportunity to grow and really protect some of its strongest products,” Australia star Ellyse Perry said.
“In my thinking that probably includes the WBBL, The Hundred and also the Women’s IPL.
“It’s especially important that you want those franchise domestic competitions to be as strong as they possibly can with international talent.”
The news comes as Perry on Tuesday confirmed her future in the competition, inking a one-year extension to stay with the Sydney Sixers this summer.
There are changes afoot in the women’s calendar.
The women’s Ashes will now be played in a separate summer to the men’s to ensure a less cluttered home calendar and a home Ashes Test every two years across the two genders.
Officials have also set up the calendar in a way to ensure one touring team plays a Test, in a bid to avoid the current situation of two last summer and none this upcoming season.
It means Australia and South Africa will play a women’s Test against each other for the first time in 2023-24, before England tour in 2024-25 and India in 2025-26.
CA are still hoping a fourth touring team will then play a Test in 2026-27, with New Zealand the obvious option but with the country’s officials still cold on red-ball women’s cricket.
“Certainly the hope is the rate of improvement of women’s cricket around the world means the multi-format series is something more countries want to look at,” CA’s head of operations Peter Roach said.
“But equally we know it has to be with opponents who are willing and can commit strongly to that.”